Legionella – information for general practitioners

12 September 2019

The below is a public health announcement from Sydney Local Health District.

Key Points:

1. Two recent confirmed cases of Legionella pneumophila have been residents of the Waterloo/ Redfern area. There is no cause for concern, but as is our normal practice in this circumstance, we are on the lookout for any other possible cases.
2. Consider the possibility of legionellosis in any patient presenting with pneumonia.
3. If legionellosis is suspected, request urine and sputum samples for testing.
4. Please call the Public Health Unit on 9515 9420 to notify of any suspected cases.

The Public Health Unit has been notified of two patients that have recently been hospitalised with Legionella pneumophila infection who have been resident in the Waterloo/Redfern area.

L. pneumophila are bacteria that can be transmitted through inhalation of aerolised contaminated water. Infection with L. pneumophila, also referred to as Legionnaires ’ disease or legionellosis, usually presents as fever, chills, cough and shortness of breath, and can progress to pneumonia, which may be fatal. Some people may also present with myalgia, headache, lethargy, loss of appetite and diarrhoea.

If you suspect infection with L. pneumophila in one of your patients, please collect:

  • Urine – for L. pneumophila urinary antigen testing
  • Sputum – for Legionella species culture

For any further information and to notify cases, please contact the Public Health Unit on 9515 9420 and after hours call RPAH switch and ask to be put through to public health on call.

For further information about L. pneumophila, please refer to: http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/controlguideline/Pages/legion.aspx